2012 Review – Experts I Learned From

The great teacher Albert Einstein and his most famous equation
Always try to learn from the best! Who’s your Albert Einstein? (@ Pavel Bolotov)


Figuring out who to work with can often make the difference between a year that was a little too much like last year (all the same problems) and a banner year (lots of movement on the old problems and a crop of interesting new ones, too.)

For me this year was vastly improved by my decision to work with Michael Charest, owner of Business Growth Solutions. Maybe you’ve looked at a program that someone offered and thought 1) that’s quite a chunk of change he’s asking, and 2) I already KNOW this stuff. Those were my hesitations about Michael’s Master Business Building program. But after I attended his workshop at a conference earlier this year, I just felt that he could really help me find powerful answers to the things that were holding me back.

I’m really glad I got out of my own way and signed up with Michael. Over the course of the eight-month group program, I made great strides in building the business that I want, not the one someone else thought I should build. That’s because Michael is a superb listener. He really helped me to formulate and clarify exactly what steps to take and in what order. That last part — about “in the right order” — is the most important. Too many days I felt like a centipede tripping over my own feet, able to help my clients but not always happy with my own results.

A bonus result of this experience was a new appreciation for the benefits of group programs. For a long time I had thought that I didn’t like group programs, and for that reason I hired Michael in advance for several one-0n-one sessions, too. And while I’m getting a lot out of our time together, I could have easily done without them. From Michael’s example I saw how a group program could be more than a watered-down version of individual help. With sensitivity toward everyone in the group, Michael managed to bring along people with very different businesses, different markets, different experience levels. Far from feeling shortchanged, I actually learned more in the group. Inspired by his approach, I’m launching a group version of my Plan To Thrive program.

Another (very different) coach who changed my 2012 is Shannon Wilkinson. One way to get to know Shannon better is to sign yourself up for her monthly Explore & Play sessions (they’re freeee!) Another way is to try her recorded “Boring Change.” In it she does some sort of  NLP/self-hypnosis/magic combo that works like a wonder at unsticking things. And of course you can always cut straight to working with her live and one-on-one. Shannon lets you shake hands with uncomfortable change, and get where you want to go with much less angst. Can I be more specific? Well, not really, because I don’t know where you want to go. But after working with Shannon, you’ll probably have a much better idea yourself.

When I speak at conferences and workshops, I consistently receive high ratings, sometimes the highest. I’m a good speaker. But I’d really like to be a GREAT speaker. This year I began to work with Peter Khoury at Method Speaking. What a find! Having begun his career as a head-down, cubicle-dwelling engineer many years ago, Peter made a mid-course correction and became a heads-up speaker and speaking teacher. I did not know there were so many techniques available to help my audience grasp the information and completely love the experience. I’ll be working with Peter more in the coming year; my development from a good speaker to a great one has barely begun.

Before 2012 is through, I have one more class coming up. In December I’ll be attending a week-end writing workshop called “Write Yourself Into Motion” with Alexandra Franzen. I chose Alexandra’s workshop mainly thanks to a referral from a friend who had seen Alexandra’s work. Though my friend is herself an accomplished author with several books to her credit, she hired Alexandra to work with her.

Finding a guide who has successfully done what you want to do and can pave your way sure beats bushwhacking.

What have you learned this year? What skills would you like to deepen in the coming year? If you could work with anyone on anything, who would you love to work with?


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